Yankees’ star pitcher is ‘mentally shot’

mlb: kansas city royals at new york yankees, luis severino
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees find themselves at a crossroads with starting pitcher Luis Severino, who, after a promising 2022 season, has faced serious struggles in 2023. In this article, we’ll delve into Severino’s performance, what’s led to his downturn, and what the future may hold for him with the Yankees.

Contract and Performance: Severino’s 2023 Season With the Yankees

Luis Severino, a 29-year-old pitcher, had his club option picked up at $15 million for the 2023 season but has dramatically underperformed despite his high salary.

Statistics and Injury

Severino has already faced injury this season, limiting him to just 63.2 innings with an 8.06 ERA and 7.92 strikeouts per nine innings. Though his velocity remains high, the quality and break of his pitches have been problematic, leading to public questioning about his role in the starting rotation or potential relegation to the bullpen.

A Crisis of Confidence

For an elite-level competitor like Severino to publicly question his own abilities is a significant concern. His own words reveal his struggle: “Right now, I’m willing to do anything to get better,” Severino admitted. “I’m having the worst year of my life in baseball. So I have to continue. I’m not gonna stop here. I have to try to get better.”

Management’s Role: Building Severino Back Up

Manager Aaron Boone has a responsibility to rebuild Severino’s confidence rather than continuing to expose him to high-pressure situations.

Media commentator Tiki Barber put it bluntly on his WFAN show: “He’s mentally shot. He’s saying things that no elite-level competitor would say, which is, ‘I suck. I’m the worst pitcher in baseball right now.’ For [manager] Aaron Boone to run him out there knowing he is thinking this way, what the heck do we expect is going to happen?

The Importance of Confidence

As Barber pointed out, much of athletic success relies on self-belief. Severino’s admission of being “the worst pitcher in baseball right now” highlights a crisis of confidence that must be addressed.

Recent Struggles

The Yankees attempted to support Severino in his recent start by utilizing an opener, Ian Hamilton. But Severino quickly allowed three earned runs, appearing shell-shocked. This incident underscores the need for a serious reset and reevaluation of his role on the team.

Moving Forward: Options for the Yankees

Severino’s inconsistency, combined with a significant injury history, calls into question his future with the Yankees, especially as he heads into a contract off-season.

Potential Strategies

The Yankees may consider moving on from Severino entirely, resetting the rotation, and investing the available funds in other areas. Though challenging, this decision may be necessary for the best interests of the player and the team.

A Crossroads for Severino and the Yankees

At this point in time, both the Yankees and Severino may need a clean break, giving him a change of scenery and allowing the club to invest in durable talent.

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